Re: History and Goals (for TE)

Craig Rusbult (
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 12:42:07 -0500

* 7. GEORGE:
> This wasn't the immediate problem I was trying to get at. My
>point was that the purpose of creation has to be determined
>theologically, & that that purpose allows considerable flexibility in
>the way it might be accomplished.

* 8. HOWARD:
> Yes, we feel uneasy (perhaps because of our homocentrism), but
>perhaps there are numerous morally capable and responsible species in
>genomic phase space, of which we are just one. Perhaps the arrival of homo
>sapiens was not inevitable, but the probability of at least one of those
>potential species becoming actualized is practically equal to one.

* 9. GEORGE:
> This is the point I was trying to make: _If_ indeed this
>probability close to unity then the basic physical condition for
>Incarnation is satisfied.

[ CR: maybe, IF natural can produce the biocomplexity we observe
(critics of E challenge this), and IF the "essence" of the GOALS are as
described by George (this seems OK to me) and IF no other conditions are
essential -- for example, if dolphins or whales are smart enough (etc) and
are self-aware and capable of free choice, etcetera, would they support
God's desire for "salvation through incarnation"? ]

> If God were pushing the evolutionary
>system along, why wasn't He pushing harder? Why did He start so far from
>the intelligent form that we believe was his goal? In other words, if God
>were pushing things along, why isn't the earth relatively young? What was
>it that prevented intelligent life from arising in the Devonian with other
>land animals? After that, God appears to have sped up his pushing almost
>exponentially. Why?

[ CR: This is a good question, addressed in the "Why isn't God more
obvious?" parts of Section 1C in each of my three overviews, and in the
last part of 2C (but only in the LONG-overview) which responds to the
claims of Gould (and others) that "imperfect adaptations" are
incompatible with design by God. ]

> I would suggest that this slow progress over the first 3 billion years of
>life on earth and then the rapid accumulation of complexity and speciation,
>is because God put the rules into the substrate of the universe when He
>formed it. He could use the tracks in the DNA phase space as a guarantor of
>our eventual creation, even if it took another billion years than it did.
>He was in no hurry to create us (what is 3 or 14 billion years to Him?) He
>could wait, watch and be entertained by what was going on.
> This problem to me is the biggest problem I see for progressive creation.
>The difference between the YECs and PCs in this regard is nothing but the
>speed that God pushes things.

[ CR: But it isn't as much of a problem for the "old-earth creation
by miraculous macromutation" that I favor, and there are very important
scientific differences between this view and "young-earth independent
creationism." ]

* 22. GLENN:
> The tracks may not be
>random, the mutations are though. In a 3 dimensional cavern system, if you
>are in a cavern of 16 feet diameter by 100 feet long with one small opening
>at each end, you can only move 16 feet up or sideways before motion becomes
>impossible. If you are moving in a random fashion, you will bump into the
>wall. You path is only random within the cavern itself, not in the entire
>limestone bed. Eventually your random path will take you to one of the
>small exits. Once in that exit you are constrained to either move down the
>exit into the next cavern or back into the one you left. Movement is
>random, not the cavern! ...
> in the above analogy, the walls represent the genomes that die! One cannot
>move in those directions so since the population can grow to fill the
>cavern, they can't occupy niches inside the "dna phase space cavern
>walls". But as the population fills the phase space of the cavern, some
>will eventually lie near the exits and if isolated, will speciate (go into
>the next cavern).

[ CR: This is a clever, interesting analogy; do you know how Gould and
Dennett, respectively (see my earlier post), would evaluate its technical
plausibility? Just how convergent or divergent is evolutionary history? ]